2019-20 recommended budget reviewed at city council meeting

Matthew Bailey

Fort Collins City Council members discussed the 2019-20 recommended budget for outcome areas during the work session of the Sept. 11 meeting.

During the work session, Fort Collins City Council members discussed the recommended budget for outcome areas for2019 to 2020, one of just two discussion items presented.

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“In total, this summarizes our budgeting for 2019 to 2020,” Fort Collins Chief Financial Officer Mike Beckstead said. “At the gross level, it’s about $650 million each year … Our net budget is in the $500 million range.”

Beginning with a brief moment of silence for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the discussion focused on Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry’s recommended budget, which was delivered to the city council and city clerk on Aug. 31.

Beckstead’s presentation of the recommended budget highlighted four affected outcome areas: neighborhood livability and social health, culture and recreation, safe community and economic health.

At the beginning of his presentation, Beckstead talked about revenue and tax numbers and rates.

“In aggregate, our revenue … is fairly flat between 2014 and 2016,” Beckstead said. “If you break that into pieces, there’s a five percent increase in light and power rates and a two percent increase in stormwater rates.”

Beckstead said the sales tax and use tax revenues have generally been flat in recent years, peaking at $29 million in 2015 due to widespread construction taking place in the Fort Collins area that year.

He went on to say that there still has been continuous growth in sales tax and use tax revenue, with a $2 million to $2.5 million increase each year.

Beckstead said sales tax has an approximate three percent forecasted increase, and sales tax has had that same increase in recent years.

“The piece that’s changing is really use tax,” Beckstead said. “But we’re forecasting about a five percent decline between 2019 and 2020 for sales tax.”

In his summary, Beckstead said the major themes with the 2019-’20 budget are public safety and police staffing, city assets and infrastructure, sustaining current levels of service, continued energy efficiency efforts, investing in the workforce and keeping up with growth.

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The budget includes proposed full-time equivalent staffing changes.

These changes include the 2.5 FTE in the city manager’s office as a transfer of the Office of Emergency Management from Poudre Fire Authority to the city and an increase of four patrol officers each year within police services.

Other changes include a 4.0 FTE to support additional trail miles, new neighborhood parks, maintenance of the downtown core area and the Whitewater Park, three FTEs to support permitting and two FTEs to support local services.

Additional staffing for broadband is not included.

The purpose of this budget review was solely to receive feedback from councilmembers. This budget review comes as the first of two budget reviews that are taking place in Fort Collins city council meetings, the second of which is taking place in October.

Matt Bailey can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @mattbailey760.